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Bulger Among the Best at Quarterback

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  • Bulger Among the Best at Quarterback

    Bulger Among the Best at Quarterback
    Saturday, October 2, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Lost in all of the worries and warts in St. Louis’ past two games is one extremely encouraging development.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger has emerged as one of the league’s best quarterbacks, ranking third in passing yards (915) and seventh in rating (94.7). After a solid outing against Arizona in the opener, Bulger had a good game against Atlanta. This past weekend against New Orleans his effort showed he could be making the move to the next level.

    Rams’ coach Mike Martz said Bulger is starting to embrace his role as a leader of the team.

    “He has always had that moniker, if you will, of being a guy that would do whatever it takes to win the game, that’s just part of it,” Martz said. “Making a great throw, moving around, scrambling, whatever it takes to win a game and having the presence of mind to do that is very important. I know he is quiet, and you don’t know him like I do, but he’s very competitive and tough.”

    Bulger threw the ball all over the field against the Saints, hitting passes long and short, racking up 358 passing yards and a touchdown. The yardage total was the third highest of his career, but it was what he did with his legs that made him stand out.

    On a play that could someday be remembered as one of his defining moments, Bulger darted up the seam of the New Orleans’ defense to score from 19 yards out and give the Rams the lead with 28 seconds to play.

    “I think he is playing exceptionally well,” Martz said. “His decisions, his check-downs, taking off at the end of the game and getting the ball in the end zone, he is getting better, better and better. I’m very pleased with him.

    “There has been significant progress over the first few games. I really thought in the first few games, the stress that we talk about wore on him a little and maybe it did. But he has been shaking that off really well, and he’s on his way now. I’m very impressed with how he has played.”

    TER’IN IT UP: Scott Tercero emerged in the preseason as one of the Rams’ most valuable players.

    Tercero was drafted in 2003 as a guard out of California, but since arriving in the NFL, he has become the utility man of the offensive line. He spent time in the preseason at tackle with Orlando Pace gone and Kyle Turley hurt. Then, Adam Timmerman and Chris Dishman battled some injury problems, causing Tercero to move back to guard. He has also spent some time in practice at center.

    All of that paled in comparison to the task he was handed on Sept. 26. Dishman left the New Orleans game with an ankle injury and Tercero stepped in. The Saints’ defensive line came after him with everything it had and Tercero held up.

    “He really did a good job,” Martz said. “I was so pleased with him. He was able to pass things off really well. And again, you can’t underestimate, practicing to play tackle for a number of weeks, then having to go into a game and play guard, with that game play, and do what you did was remarkable.”

    Dishman remains questionable for Sunday’s game against San Francisco and Tercero is the likely starter if Dishman can’t go.

    Tercero said he is excited about the opportunity to start, especially in California, where he will have friends and family in attendance.

    “Any player wants to play as much as possible,” Tercero said. “It’s going to be a really electric atmosphere.”

    INJURY REPORT: In addition to Dishman’s ankle injury, other questionable Rams for Sunday are running back Arlen Harris (hamstring) and linebacker Tony Newson (ankle).

    Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy (foot) and cornerback Travis Fisher (forearm) are out.

    Linebacker Trev Faulk (hamstring), cornerback DeJuan Groce (knee), guard Tom Nutten (toe), linebacker Robert Thomas (ankle) and strong safety Adam Archuleta (hamstring) are listed as probable. RB Marshall Faulk (back) was held out of the team portion of practice, but should be fine for Sunday night. He is listed as probable.

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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  • RamWraith
    Rams Begin Prep for Washington
    by RamWraith
    hursday, August 26, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    After a couple days of consistently bad news, the Rams got some good news Tuesday night. Quarterback Marc Bulger had an MRI on his left knee Tuesday, but the results came back the way he hoped, revealing there was no damage. Had Bulger suffered a serious injury, it would have been the next in an extensive line of blows for the Rams in the preseason.

    Kyle Turley’s back remains a question, Dave Wohlabaugh was released because of a hip injury, Jimmy Kennedy broke his foot and Travis Fisher broke his right forearm. None of that would compare to a Bulger injury that would cause him to miss an extended period. Fortunately for the Rams, it appears they have little to worry about in Bulger’s case.

    Bulger said his knee is going to be fine. “It’s good,” Bulger said. “We just had an MRI just because we didn’t have the extra time to evaluate it after a day or two. With the short week, we just wanted to get a quicker diagnosis. I think you can usually tell when you’re injured, but I think it was just more precautionary.” Bulger said his knee was sore and he might be limited with running in the next few days, but he expects to play against Washington on Friday night.

    Coach Mike Martz said Tuesday that Bulger was spun around and might have been hit on the kneecap when he was sacked in the first half against Kansas City on Monday night. Bulger played the entire first half before calling it a night. In his stint, Bulger was eight-of-15 for 67 yards and an interception. The Chiefs blitzed more than most teams in the preseason, taking advantage of St. Louis’ patchwork offensive line and sacking Bulger three times.

    The protection must pick up blitzes better against Washington to ensure that Bulger stays healthy and the offense gets going. St. Louis has scored 17 points in its first two preseason games. Bulger said he can’t worry about anything but his own performance. “I think it’s pretty obvious we need to put the ball in the endzone,” Bulger said. “They are doing a fine job. I have got to shore up some of my own business. It’s not for me to worry about everyone else. The bottom line is we are not getting it done. “We could make a million excuses, but the bottom line is if we had 10 plays we should be able to score.”

    NEW BEGINNINGS: Cornerbacks Kevin Garrett and DeJuan Groce began their first day of practice as Fisher’s potential replacements. Martz said Fisher had surgery Wednesday and there was no nerve damage. Groce has missed time because he sprained his left knee on Aug. 18, and he resumed running Wednesday.

    Replacing an injured player is not new to Groce, who was in a similar situation in 2003. Fisher strained his groin against Green Bay on Oct. 19 and Groce came in to replace him. The next week against Pittsburgh, Groce made his first career start in Fisher’s stead.

    -08-26-2004, 11:12 AM
  • RamWraith
    Thursday Notes
    by RamWraith
    Thursday, December 16, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    While things on the defensive side of the ball for the Rams seem to be settling in, the same can’t be said for the offense.

    If it wasn’t bad enough losing quarterback Marc Bulger to a sprained right shoulder and running backs Steven Jackson and Marshall Faulk to bruised knees, the offensive line is as bruised and battered as any unit on the team.

    Injuries and inconsistency have plagued St. Louis’ offensive line for most of the season and that has led to some tense moments. Bulger has taken many hits and that finally caught up to him against San Francisco on Dec. 5. Bulger began throwing again Wednesday and did some more Thursday, but is still questionable for Sunday’s game at Arizona.

    In addition to the injuries behind the offensive line, there is not a single Rams’ lineman who has been completely healthy all season.

    Rams coach Mike Martz said injuries have been the biggest cause of the line’s inconsistency.

    “I think it’s a little bit more complicated than the mindset,” Martz said. “We just have to have them ready. We’ll give some of these other guys some repetitions. It’s not a question of wanting to play good or the effort or anything. That’s never been the issue with these guys. They are just banged up, trying to fight through it and struggling a little bit. We have to do the right thing by these guys and give them the opportunity to get back physically.”

    Specifically, the guard position has been the most depleted this week. Right guard Adam Timmerman has yet to appear on the injury report, but he missed most of Wednesday and Thursday’s practices because of shoulder problems.
    Timmerman, who has joined fellow Doughnut Brother Andy McCollum as the Death and Taxes of the group, is usually impossible to keep out of practice. Martz said he practically has to force Timmerman to sit out.

    “Adam will not come out of practice, he just refuses,” Martz said. “He gets upset with it, and says he can’t leave his guys. It’s a very emotional thing for him; he’s the rock out there. Everything is kind of built around him in that offensive line, and if he leaves that huddle, even in practice for a minute, he has a hard time with that.”

    On the left side, Tom Nütten continues to struggle with foot and knee problems. Earlier this season, he missed time with a severe case of turf toe. He was limited in practice the past couple of days, also.

    Nütten replaced Chris Dishman at left guard when Dishman tore some ligaments in his knee. Dishman returned to practice Wednesday and did little on Thursday, but isn’t likely to return this week and his status for the rest of the season remains in question.

    If Nütten and or Timmerman aren’t able to play, that leaves rookie Larry Turner and Darnell Alford as the backup options....
    -12-17-2004, 09:53 AM
  • RamWraith
    Dishman gets a double dose of knee trouble
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    In nearly two decades of football, dating to his pre-high school days in Cozad, Neb., Chris Dishman never had suffered a significant knee injury. Now, it's two in two months.

    Dishman, an eight-year NFL veteran who signed with the Rams as a free agent Aug. 5, will be sidelined four to six weeks with a complete tear of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Dishman, who had started five games at left guard, was injured in the third quarter Sunday in the Rams' 23-12 victory over Seattle at the Edward Jones Dome.

    "I was locked up with a guy that I was going against, and he came into the side of my leg," Dishman explained. A series later, he re-entered the game.

    "I braced it up, and I thought I could do it," he said. "I went out and tried to make an adjustment on a linebacker, and at that point I knew something was wrong in there, because my knee kind of flopped out the side."

    An MRI exam Monday revealed the damage. No surgery is planned.

    Veteran Tom Nutten played left guard the rest of the game and is expected to start Sunday, when the Rams (5-4) square off with the Buffalo Bills (3-6) at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Rams' last regular-season game is Jan. 2, so Dishman could return this season.

    "If we're fortunate enough to be in postseason play, he should be back by then," coach Mike Martz said. "That's still a ways down the road, but ... he'd play right now if we asked him to."

    Dishman, 30, missed two games after hyperextending his right knee Sept. 26 against New Orleans. "It still isn't 100 percent," he said. "And then I go out there and do this. So I've kind of been a gimp."

    The offensive line was thinned further when it was determined that guard/tackle Scott Tercero would have shoulder surgery this week and miss the remainder of the season. Tercero, who also had been playing with a broken left hand, started four games at left guard.

    "Scotty Tercero was playing so good, I can't stress that enough," Martz said. "He's an exceptional offensive lineman. That's a big-time hit on our part. I can't be more pleased with him."

    Illness hits Faulk

    When running back Marshall Faulk showed up Wednesday at Rams Park, Martz threw him out.

    "He's got that flu bug. He was going to come and practice, and (I told him), 'Go home, go to bed,'" Martz said. "He's been down for a couple of days. He came in and got some medicine, got the game plan and went back home."

    Martz reported that Faulk was improving. "He feels a lot better. He was really bad" Tuesday. As much as anything, Martz wanted to keep Faulk away from his teammates.

    "We've got a...
    -11-18-2004, 06:06 AM
  • RamWraith
    Tuesday Notebook
    by RamWraith
    Tuesday, August 24, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Travis Fisher’s broken right arm wasn’t the only cause for concern Monday night. Quarterback Marc Bulger injured his knee after being sacked in the first half. Bulger had an MRI on his knee Tuesday, which revealed only a bone bruise. His status is day to day.

    Linebacker Tommy Polley and defensive tackle Tyoka Jackson are battling shoulder injuries. Polley has a muscle strain and Jackson has a shoulder strain and are day to day as well. Adam Timmerman’s sore shoulder continues to give him problems. Martz said Timmerman will be held out of practice this week. Tony Newson (hamstring), Robert Cromartie (hamstring), Groce (knee), Jeremy Phillips (neck) and Joey Goodspeed (hamstring) were inactive for Monday’s game.

    FAULK CHECK: Marshall Faulk played 13 snaps against Kansas City, finishing with 16 yards on six carries and made a catch for 9 yards. Faulk, who has battled knee and hand injuries in recent years, said he felt fine after the game. “There’s a conditioning factor that I’m working on,” Faulk said. “I felt pretty good out there. You never know in this offense until your number is called five, six seven times in a row if you are in the conditioning you want to be. That is something that is going to come as I get my carries throughout the preseason and throughout the year.”

    Martz said he was pleased with what he saw from Faulk against the Chiefs and expects him to play against Washington at the Edward Jones Dome on Friday night. “We’ll continue in these last two games to make sure that he gets some work,” Martz said. “He’s further along than he’s ever been at this point in the season. He looked like he had that great burst of speed and all that good stuff.”

    O-LINE MOVING ON: The offensive line had problems with the Chiefs’ continued blitzing Monday night, but there were myriad reasons for that. The starting group consisted of left guard Chris Dishman (signed late, still working on his conditioning), right tackle Scott Tercero (who had played in only one game of any kind in his year in St. Louis), left tackle Grant Williams (playing on a severely sprained right ankle), center Andy McCollum (who moved over from left guard) and right guard Timmerman (shoulder injury).

    The problems along the line made it difficult to stop Kansas City’s relentless pass rush. Martz said he expects the unit to jell as the regular season draws closer and certain players get back to their comfort zones. “Provided that we can keep what we have healthy, we will put out a first unit that will compete and play well,” Martz said.

    ROSTER MOVEMENT: The Rams released seven players Tuesday afternoon moving closer to the limit of 65 that must be reached by Aug. 31. The final cuts to reach the 53-man roster must be made by Sept. 5. Defensive tackle Richard Harris, receivers Derek McCoy and Brian Sump, linebackers...
    -08-25-2004, 05:45 AM
  • Nick
    Rams blame Bulger injury on cheap shot
    by Nick
    Rams blame Bulger injury on cheap shot
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Oct. 24 2004

    Miami defensive end
    drove the quarterback
    to ground, Martz says

    MIAMI - As if the 31-14 final score weren't bad enough for the Rams,
    quarterback Marc Bulger ended Sunday's game with a sore throwing shoulder after
    what the Rams claim was a cheap-shot hit by Miami defensive end Jason Taylor.

    "I know how he got hurt, and it bothers me," coach Mike Martz said. "He got
    driven into the ground."

    The play in question occurred when Bulger threw a touchdown pass to Shaun
    McDonald with 5 minutes 19 seconds remaining in the game. After being hit by
    Taylor, Bulger complained to referee Johnny Grier, but there was no flag.

    "I wasn't arguing with the fact that it was late," Bulger said. "And I know
    it's football. But it's just a matter that you're in a vulnerable position, the
    ball's gone already, and he slams you down."

    Officiating crews seem to be watching late hits on quarterbacks more closely
    this season, but that wasn't the case Sunday with Bulger.

    "I had my name on the back of my jersey, maybe that's why," Bulger said,
    suggesting that a more prominent quarterback might have gotten a call.

    After examination by team medical officials, Bulger said he didn't expect to
    have an MRI exam.

    "They said it wasn't separated," Bulger said. "They know exactly what happened,
    right at the spot that it's hurt. It's just an AC joint. ... I think the week
    off will help."

    The Rams have a bye this week and don't play until Nov. 7 against New England.

    Long injury report

    Bulger isn't the only Rams player who might need the bye week to get healthy.

    Rookie Brandon Chillar, starting for the second game in a row in place of the
    injured Robert Thomas (ankle), suffered a pulled hamstring in the first
    quarter. He was replaced at middle linebacker by Trev Faulk.

    Wide receiver Dane Looker suffered an ankle injury making a third-down catch on
    the Rams' second-quarter touchdown drive. The Rams scored on the next play, so
    Bulger took over Looker's holder duties on the extra point. Looker returned to
    hold following the Rams' fourth-quarter TD but was replaced in the Rams'
    four-wide receiver sets by Kevin Curtis.

    Several other Rams failed to finish the game: starting defensive end Bryce
    Fisher left with a bruised chest; offensive tackle Grant Williams left with a
    pinched nerve in his neck and shoulder area; and backup cornerback Dwight
    Anderson suffered a shoulder injury on punt coverage early...
    -10-24-2004, 11:34 PM